World-wide attention was drawn to the UFO mystery in 1987 by one wave of sightings, those which occurred over Gulf Breeze, Florida. These were much more than just sighting reports-the sightings were accompanied by many photographs and videos. The majority of the attention was on one Ed Walters, a contractor from the area, who took extraordinarily clear photographs of UFOs
Walters' First Sighting:
Walters claimed that his first sighting of a UFO occurred on November 11, 1987. He was working in his living room late at night when he noticed a light shining through the window. He immediately went outside to find the source of the light. He saw a glowing object which was only partially visible because of a large pine tree in his yard. He moved to get a better look at the object-now he noticed that the object was shaped like a top.
UFO in the Road:
The UFO was hovering just above the surface of the road. Walters could see some details of the UFO-square windows and portals.
The object also had a ring around the bottom which glowed brightly. He ran and grabbed his Polaroid camera, and took several pictures before he moved even closer to the road. He stood motionless on the pavement to get the best photograph he could, but suddenly, he was hit by a beam from the UFO
Effect of the Beam:
Walters was almost directly underneath the UFO when the beam lifted him off of the ground. This is eerily similar to the case of Travis Walton
. Walters then heard a voice saying, "Don't worry, we will not harm you." He then began to receive images in his mind. He stated that they were revealed to him "as if they were turning the pages of a book." His next conscious memory was waking up.
Gulf Breeze Sentinel:
The UFO was gone for now. On November 17, only a few days after his encounter, he took the photographs of the object to the local newspaper, the Gulf Breeze Sentinel. He told the editor the details of a UFO sighting and taking of the photographs, but attributed them to a friend of his, a Mr. X. Obviously, Walters was afraid of being laughed at by the editor. Mr. X's account was given thusly:
Statement of Mr. X:
"Bang! Something hit me. All over my body, I tried to lift my arms, I couldn't move them. They were blue, I was blue, everything was blue. I was in a blue light beam. I was trying to breathe but my chest wouldn't expand. My feet lifted off the floor, a voice groaned in my head, 'We will not harm you.' I screamed, and the voice said to calm down."
Credibility under Fire:
Walters also supplied the editor a letter from Mr. X, but Ed's anonymity would not last. Soon, the man who took the great UFO photographs was known all over Gulf Breeze, and before much longer, the whole world would know who Ed Walters was. Ed took more and more photographs of the enigmatic flying objects, and claimed more visits from the beings who drove them. Though Walters was known as a trustworthy man, the UFO photos had caused his credibility to come under fire.
MUFON: "Photos are Genuine." :
Walters reputation would receive a big boost from MUFON, the world's largest UFO organization. After hearing about Walters' photographs and sightings, they began a full blown investigation into the Gulf Breeze story. After they completed an initial look into the evidence that Walters had, they were convinced that he and his evidence was genuine.
Walter Andrus, state director of MUFON studied the case for three years. His conclusions were: "The overwhelming evidence is in. Gulf Breeze is indeed one of the most incredible cases in modern UFO history."
This was a rare declaration of this magnitude for any UFO case.
Despite the glowing stamp of approval by MUFON, many investigators were not convinced, and called the photographs hoaxed. On February 18, and 23, 1988, Ed was given two polygraph tests by Harvey W. McLaughlin Jr. He passed both of them.
Although Walters was the star witness of the Gulf Breeze sightings, he was not alone. Over 200 other witnesses came forward validating the sighting reports, and some even had taken their own photographs. Looking back on the Gulf Breeze case, it is still uncertain if Walters had hoaxed the photographs or not, and the UFO community is divided on a final verdict.